January 27, 2018 6:23 pm
Updated: January 27, 2018 7:24 pm

Dorval merchants look to revitalize commercial arteries

WATCH ABOVE: Dorval merchants are hosting public consultations on how commercial areas should be developed in the city to help foster a sense of community and support thriving businesses. Global’s Phil Carpenter reports.

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Esther Szeben has lived in Dorval for 14 years, and loves it.

“Excellent public services — our libraries, our arenas, our swimming pools thrive.”

But there’s something that’s really troubling her.

“Over the years there has been a diminished commercial presence,” says Szeben.  “We used to have some thriving businesses and they closed for whatever reasons.”

Two main areas of concern are Dorval Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard along Dorval village, where business vacancy is climbing.

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That of Lakeshore Boulevard has doubled since 2014, according to the local business association, Dorval Main Streets. It’s one of the things that prompted them to do something.

READ MORE: Dorval Avenue getting major makeover

Pierre Soucy is president of the association and he says they started working with Dorval merchants to establish a course of action.

That started more than a year ago by consulting merchants.  Now they’re consulting the public.  On Saturday they held a meeting at the Dorval Civic Centre to hear from residents like Szeben to find out what they want. They want variety.

“I would like to see more ethnic stores,” Szeben says.

“There seems to be a big desire for specialty stores and food and a public market,” Soucy adds, “which is part of the plans we’re working on, as we speak.”

Besides that, there isn’t enough entertainment, and they want to change the commercial mix.

READ MORE: Dorval residents angry over heavy traffic on residential streets

“As we speak, there are barely 10 retail businesses,” Soucy explains.  ‘There are a lot of services but very few retail businesses.”

But both streets won’t need the same things.  They each have distinct identities, and the challenge will be finding a way to preserve and define the strengths of each area.  So both residents and merchants want to preserve the cozy village feel along Lakeshore and inject more of a commercial, modern atmosphere along Dorval Avenue.

There’s to be another public consultation at the same place, Monday evening.  After that there’s no timeline on when any changes to the two streets will happen.

“Ideally we want it to be as short as possible,” says Soucy.  “That will depend on the will of the population, and the will of the merchants and the will of the city.”

READ MORE: Residents of Dorval community raise concerns about new home

For now, it’s a conversation.  They need to look at what residents say they need and then decide what to implement.

Szeben is hopeful, even though she knows it’ll take years before things get underway: “I hope to see some development, even if it’s in the next two years, it would be nice to see something change.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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